My Favourite Travel Sized Companions

We take a lot of weekend trips, so over the last few years I’ve tried to get a good selection of travel sized beauty products.  If we’re not going on a super long trip, I only carry hand luggage, which means I have to comply with airline regulations that I have all of my liquids in a clear quart sized bag and none of the items can be over 100ml.  This is pretty annoying and restrictive, but I’ve found some really great multi-purpose products that fit into the small size requirements perfectly.  Sometimes, I even have room left over in my quart sized bag.

Some of my favourite travel companions
Some of my favourite travel companions

1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, 70ml – I’ve written about this before because it is my daily facial cleanser of choice.  It’s an ideal travel companion though because it does the work of two products but isn’t a space hog.  It removes makeup and leaves your skin looking and feeling super clean but since it doesn’t strip it of its natural oils your skin still feels soft and not at all tight.    I always use it to remove my makeup because it works so well on even really stubborn mascara.  Plus, the oil texture means that you don’t have to worry about scrubbing at the delicate skin around your eye area to get your eye makeup off.  You can only find this at the DHC website, but you can get it in two travel sizes now: 70ml for £11.00 or the really tiny 30ml version for £4.50.

2. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light, 50ml – This is another great multi-purpose item.  Depending on how heavy you put this on it is equally good as a day or night cream.  It doesn’t have an SPF in it, but I’ve got another product for that, so it can be used to keep you skin hydrated and lovely all day and night.  It has a nice light texture that works well under foundation because it isn’t too heavy feeling, and really, the lack of SPF means that you won’t get any of that shine in your holiday snaps either.  At night I put this on a bit heavier and it works to keep my skin hydrated.  You can get La Roche-Posay products at a number of chemists, but I get mine from FeelUnique for £16.50.  They also have a formula that is thicker called Hydraphase Intense Rich for people with really dry skin, they sell a version of that with SPF too, both for £16.50 as well.

3. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, 30ml – I am loving this foundation.  I haven’t had a chance to write my full review of this yet, but the condensed version is that I am a huge fan.  This gives your skin a beautiful smooth, matt finish with an incredibly light texture even with its SPF15.  It goes on as a liquid but dries to a powdery type finish, and that’s how it makes your skin look so great.  It is light enough that you can use it under your eye area too without it settling into all of the fine lines and looking like a hot mess.  This is great for travel because of the packaging, but also because you’ll look gorgeous on holiday.  The packaging is very slim, flat, and compact so it fits in your little bag of liquids really well.  This is the best liquid foundation packaging I think I’ve come across for traveling.  Also, you don’t need to use a lot of it so this little bottle has good longevity.   You can get this at Boots or Harrods for £33.00.

4. Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara, 6.5g –  I’ve used this mascara for years and love it.  It will always have a place in my mascara collection because of how you can use it to either get a very light coating or layer it up for a more dramatic look.  The small brush is the key I think because it is can easily coat all of your lashes, upper and lower, without clumping.  It’s nice for travel because of the slim packaging, which I’m sure they can achieve because of the small brush.  Also, I never have a problem with this flaking after a long day, which is great since I wear contact lenses.  Lately I’ve been getting my Définicils Mascara from FeelUnique for £22.50.  You can use this without an eyelash curler because it will actually give your lashes a bit of curl it seems, or you can pack the very compact Muji Portable Eyelash Curler (£3.95) which takes up way less space in your travel bag than your traditional eyelash curler.

5. Aveda brilliant Retexturing Gel, 25ml – Dave and I have both been using this for years in our travel kit.  It works really well to give your hair body and control without making it look dry or dull.  I like it because I can use it to bring out my curl or to keep my hair sleek and smooth when I blow it out straight.  This has all kinds of reasons for being in my travel bag really, not the least of which is that both Dave and I can use it and it works for curly or straight hair.  It’s quite good for hold too, so sometimes I don’t even need to bother with hairspray, which means I can save that much more room.  I’ve only had luck finding the travel sized version of the brilliant Gel from Aveda for £5.50.

6. L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra Hairspray, 75ml – Even though I just got through saying that I don’t always need hairspray with the Aveda gel, sometimes I do, it just depends on where we are traveling too.  I like the L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra because it keeps my hair soft to the touch, and to the eye, but still manages to have great holding powers.  I find this to be really useful when it is humid too because it doesn’t ever seem to get sticky like a lot of hairsprays.  I normally get mine when I order from my groceries from Ocado for £2.50 because it seems to be less expensive than other places I’ve found it. It is kind of expensive for this little can, but I haven’t found a good replacement that is less expensive for a travel size.

7. bareMinerals Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, 4g – Okay, this doesn’t need to go into your clear baggie of liquids, but is something you should always take when you’re traveling.  I’ve only been using this for about a month now, but I love it.  The powder sunscreen works so well to protect my skin, but doesn’t feel heavy or make my face feel greasy or sweaty.  I like that this does double duty as a way to protect my skin from the sun, but also as a light finishing powder to set my makeup.  The packaging is nice because it comes with its own retractable brush so you don’t have to worry about bringing one along with you but is still really compact.  This can easily tuck away in your carry on luggage or even your handbag.  I got mine from FeelUnique for  £21.95.

So, that’s not an exhaustive list of what’s in my travel bag, but these are the things that are always going to be in there.  If you are looking for some other travel sized suggestions, Vogue recently had a great article with 20 petite products that they think are tops for travel.

DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil

The Deep Cleansing Oil is the product that first brought me to DHC.  I’ve been using it for so long I can’t even remember how I happened upon it the first time, but am so glad that it I managed to find it.  Since I’ve used this, I have become a big fan of DHC and now use several of their skin care products, a couple of their hair products, and I’ve recently started trying their makeup line too.  DHC hails from Japan and has been creating wonderful skin care products for more than 30 years.  Their skincare products are free from parabens, unnecessary fragrances, and colourings.  They use olive oil in a number of their products, as well as other natural ingredients, mixed with a fair dose of technology and innovation to create exceptional products.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

I am positive that it seems very strange to anyone that hasn’t tried this, to actually clean your face with oil, but I promise you it works beautifully.  First of all, to put your mind at ease, this is a totally water soluble oil.  This means that it goes on and feels just like you are slathering cooking oil on your face, but when you add water it washes off easily taking all of the dirt, debris, and makeup with it.  It will leave your skin beautifully soft and clean without stripping it of the necessary oil that you need to protect your skin from dryness and aging.  Here’s what they say about it on the DHC website:

Water-soluble Deep Cleansing Oil contains a rich blend of skin-loving vitamin E and hydrating olive oil. It helps unclog pores by clearing impurities and make-up, leaving your face a grime-free zone. Rinses away to help leave skin fresh and clean. Olive oil and vitamin E fight free radicals.

The oils in the cleanser are incredible for removing makeup, even the most stubborn waterproof things like liner and mascara.  This actually works better than any other makeup remover I have ever tried, and I have tried quite a few in my search to find the right one.  I always come back to the Deep Cleansing Oil though.  I must admit, I also like the efficiency of cleaning my face and removing my makeup all in one quick step.  Plus, with this I don’t need to worry about having cotton rounds or anything else, just my hands and some water.  As a result, I always bring this with me when we travel.  You can use it without much hassle on a train or plane, have a clean face in no time, and all you need is this little tiny travel sized bottle, so it doesn’t take up precious space in your travel kit.

I don’t like to do a lot of fussing around with a complicated cleaning ritual in the evening, I just want to get my face clean and my moisturizer on so that I can go to bed. The Deep Cleansing Oil allows me that speed but I know that my face is super clean and ready for some restorative sleep time.  I use just one pump of the 200ml bottle per wash, though if I’ve had on a huge amount of waterproof mascara I might have to use just a smidge more in that area to fully clean away the mascara.  Since the oil takes all of the friction out of moving your fingers over your skin, I take this chance to give myself a little facial massage as well.  I work the oil in all around my face and neck in small circles, this helps to really clean my skin but also to promote circulation which everyone indicates is really important and keeps your facial skin looking better.  If you’re going to do this around your eye area, you should lightly circle the bony area from the inner edge of your eyebrow out toward your cheek and then in toward the corner of your eye and back up to the inner edge of your brow and repeat a few times to reduce puffiness (that’s a tip I picked up from some skin person years ago and I think it really does help).  I do the same little massage routine in the morning when I use this cleanser right before I jump in the shower.  Just make sure that your face is dry and so are your hands.  This cleanser is water soluble, so if you have water on your hands when you apply it, it starts to breakdown immediately and you lose out on the benefits.

I have pretty normal skin, though sometimes it gets a little oily (like PMS time) but when I consistently use the Deep Cleansing Oil, I can keep my skin free of blemishes and I think it normalizes my skin quite well.  When I have tried other cleansers,  no matter how good the brand, I am usually left with a bit of a tight unpleasant feeling, or it makes my skin too dry and flaky, or it goes the other way and leaves me feeling greasy.  However, when I use the cleaner from DHC my skin seems to maintain a good balance that leaves it feeling smooth and moist, and clear of any blemishes.  When I first started using this cleanser, I was amazed at how well it worked on makeup removal, and then after using it for a couple of weeks, I was amazed at how great my skin looked on a deeper level.

Honestly, I can’t say enough great things about this cleanser.  It it my favourite because it works so well and makes my skin look great.  The other good thing is that because it doesn’t take a ton of it to do the job, the 200ml bottle will last you quite some time, so the price is very good and lower than cleansers from brands like Lancome, Shu Umera, or Clarins.  And if you think I’m the only one raving about this cleanser, you should check out the reviews on the DHC website, everyone loves it:  4.8 stars out of 5 with more than 240 reviews on the UK website and 4.9 stars out of 5 with almost 3,500 reviews on the US website.  I love this and all of the DHC stuff so much that I took time to hunt them down on our summer holiday to Tokyo and ended up buying a ton of stuff, but I did save about £100.00 by buying it all in Japan, so that was incredible.  I kind of wish I would have bought more stuff actually.  I did end up buying two bottles of the Deep Cleansing Oil because it is such a staple in my fight for perfect skin.

If you are sold on this cleanser and want to try it for yourself, you can get it directly from the DHC website.  There are country specific websites for the US, Canada, UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and of course Japan, since that is where they are from.  Through the UK website, the Deep Cleansing Oil is £21.50 for a 200 ml bottle; it’s $28.00 on the DHC US website for a 6.7 ounce bottle.  While you are ordering you might as well get the little 30 ml/ 1 oz travel size too; it is £4.50 in the UK, and $5.50 in the US though you can get it for $4.40 through the end of October.  The good thing about DHC is that you get 4 samples, of your choosing, with each order.  Plus, when you get the catalog in the mail they also enclose a couple of samples, so you’re always getting new products to try.  Or, you can save the little sample sizes for travel, like I do.